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Sometimes you try and try and try.

When you’ve tried to talk. To reason. To explain. To inquisition. To understand. To know. To care. To love. To give. To commit. To devote.

At some point you will realise that you have done too much for someone, that the only next possible step to do is to stop.

Leave them alone.

Walk away.

It’s not like you’re giving up, and it’s not that you shouldn’t try.

It’s just that you have to draw the line of determination from desperation.

What is truly yours will eventually be yours, and what is not, no matter how hard you try, will never be.

Walk away knowing that you’ve tried, because sometimes the best thing that you can do is to let them go.

No matter how much your heart wants to stay, no matter how painful it’s going to get, and no matter how easy it is to slip back into each other.

Be strong. Do what’s best for others. Yet again.

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The Future Of Us

I rarely celebrate my birthdays and don’t expectantly look forward nor really revel to it, except for my best celebrated day ever when Iris whisked me in a whirlwind back in the memorable and lovable Jan 2012! Of Orchard road! Of Sentosa! & Of Songs! But times have lapsed, and though I never imagined it to be like this, I respect her decisions. I desperately needed us to stay as we were, but if it’s God’s will, then it’s God’s will. Your happiness is all that matters to me.

Even if the price was mine.

I suppose I’ve always been that bigger man, in a lot of situations — but not in the grandiose kind, but the generally speaking kind. The kind that a daily situation usually demands of, such as the calling for a leadership figure to rise to the occasion. Whether it’s at the office, at home, or in a neutral event, I’ve always been looked upon to be that level-headed and thinking fella that will always provide the listening ear, the shoulder to cry on and magically come up with the decisions and everyone will feel better. And that happens usually, that everyone feels better.

Even if the price was mine.

These burdens took its toll eventually where I realised that at most times I’ve not been taking care of the right things in a relationship — as I tend to see bigger pictures and root solutions instead of the critical tiny details and the most important thing: the heartbeat. I don’t know what’s God has in his plans for me, for you, for us, but I’ll gladly gulp down these bitterest of bitterest pills just so that everyone around us can live and breathe again.

What’s in store in the future of us? Only time will tell..

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So I really enjoyed my birthday session this year! Something to truly cherish, as I found out what was in store in ‘The Future of Us’ – that exhibition at Gardens By The Bay (aka ‘GBTB’)! So it was spent there instead with my doting and affable lil Sis! Well, she’s not lil anymore, but in my eyes, she still is! Can’t be too overprotective, can I?

I booked tickets (FREE!) from home for the exhibition, because firstly, I have no idea what this exhibition is all about and would like to find out, secondly, it’s free, and thirdly, I finally get to bring Sis out!

But it rained. Whilst on our journey, I had to detour by making a ‘pit-stop’ at Tiong Bahru estate, shortly after entering CTE from AYE.

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We were slightly drenched, but our spirits were high flying (or maybe just me? lol), as we waited patiently at a nearby kopitiam, drinking a can of coke, for the rain to subside. In our search for a good place to wait, we passed by a number of really interesting shops, which drew our imaginations. From antiquated floral boutiques to a quaint little printing shop, the passageway made you turn your head more than once as you walked on by.

As soon as the weather sobered up, we made a mad dash through town for GBTB, and thankfully it was nearly empty, save for a few classes of secondary school students and the staff onsite. We arrived much earlier than the exhibition’s designated timeslot, so we explored the garden’s Dragonfly lake, and couldn’t help but feel it’s stagnancy and weariness. It may look like a garden, but the overall ambience felt fabricated and strangely contriteful for a ‘world-class tourist attraction’. We didn’t enter the air-conditioned dome nor climbed the ‘supertrees’ so maybe that’s why our experience of the garden was muted, at best. Sure, the flowers were pretty and the canopies were aplenty, but overall the experience fell short and je ne sais qois~

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Thankfully, the Future Of Us exhibition kicked off shortly to end our much dreary afternoon, but as much as we were left delighted by the immersive dome silver-screen and fancy laser displays, the show felt like it wasn’t really meant for us working adult Singaporeans. Maybe for students and children more. The only good thing that I could take home with me out of this experience was this lengthy playground of swings, located just outside the exhibition hall as you exit it. Without needing any invitations, our inner child took over and we were soon swinging ourselves!

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But of course, the best part of the day was at VivoCity when Sis insisted that she got me a little present from Typo, even though I know that she’d have to dig deep, like really really really deep into her pockets to pay for the gift that I chose, because financially it hasn’t been kind lately. And it’s so touching, and lovely, and sweet, and beautiful of her to do that for me. She’d call me the annoying and irritating brother of hers, but I know that she cares and tries to take care of me too!

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So yeah, a wrench-pen! The most beautiful wrench/pen that one will ever receive.

So indeed, my birthdays have never been one that I look forward to as it’s a date that coincides with some of my greatest losses. Instead it’s a day that I reflect and chew upon as I ponder on what God has in store for me, my loved ones, my work and my friends.

Thankfully, despite the dampening rain, the dreary GBTB, and the increasingly notion that my birthday will be one not to be remembered, Sis threw a wrench into the works and reversed the day into a wonderful occasion, one that I will cherish for a very long time, because it’s up there with my best celebrated day ever!

Thank you, my dear Sis, and love ya much for spending time with this overly-pensive brother of yours. Oh, and I pray that you find your jodoh soon, because a beautiful person like you deserves a beautiful leader of the home, and also just so that you’ll stop entertaining me with these annoying requests of mine. InsyaAllah.

And what could one up my day thus far? My night of course! Especially when I returned to a pleasant surprise, seeing my baby cousin Irfan greeting me (totally unexpectedly!) and seeing the whole family dim the lights so that the burning candle on my cupcake could lit the darkened room. Like a lighthouse that guides the lost ship, this gesture reminded me that no matter what happens to you in life, there’s only one thing that matters: family.

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It mattered to me that they took the trouble to get the candle burning, getting the cupcake itself, fetching my lovely cousin irfan, and most of all, to wait till I came home at just before midnight to enjoy a mini celebration with me. Loving everyone to pieces already, and I pray that our future will continue to be told with stories like tonight!

A timely reminder to me: family comes first. Their happiness is utmost.

Even if the price was mine.

 

Elastic Heart

Sia is an awesome performer.

Chandelier wasn’t a flash in the pan, and she’s certainly no one-trick pony.

Maddie Ziegler, that little girl you see performing along to her songs in MVs, is another talent too.

Then there is the consistent and inextinguishable Shia LaBeouf, whom together with these two girls, gave birth to this delectable monster:

“I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart.” Sia croons, as the emptiness in you slowly dissipates and you feel yourself coming back gradually,  gathering courage and what-nots from the depths of your inner-most fears.

“But your blade it might’ve been too sharp.” And as the strength creeps in, you feel vulnerable. Your knees weak, arms heavy, yet you shrug off the exhaustion, and dive head-first. You stubbornly try again.

“I’m like a rubber band until you pull too hard.” You keep thinking why? You keep wondering when? You never doubt your nerves of steel, but you realise you’re only human.

“Yeah I may snap and I move fast. But you won’t see me fall apart. Cause I’ve got an elastic heart.” Life won’t be easy, but it goes on.

 

May peace be unto you.

I’m a pretty good listener — I’m sure some of my friends and colleagues will attest to that claim, but the ‘listen’ here is really more in relation to actions than words, because as the cliche goes, action speaks louder than words.

Wha, wait, how does one even ‘listen’ to an action?

Well, if you think of it as interpreting an amalgamation of gestures, words, intonations, body postures and of course, the all telling signs of a pair of eyes that are the surest giveaway of emotions whenever you’re in a conversation, then yes you can certainly listen to actions.

Yep, I read into actions a lot.

And so I got good at masking emotions too — a skill that I’ve honed for the past 33 years, and especially ever since late mum passed on — and maybe that’s why sometimes I behave like a noble gas of the periodic table, unreactive at room temperature.

It’s not that I’m guarded, introverted, or braindead or anything, but it’s more of a tendency to be calm and collected when emotions run high — so that I am able to think, and let my mouth spout calculated, calm words while my brain is desperately trying to digest chunks of data, where if it was a country, a state of emergency would’ve been voted for unconditionally.

Um, so it got voted for sooner than I’d like it to be.

This afternoon when big Boss HQ mentioned of leaving Stalwart to ourselves, due to the team’s inactions, a state of emergency was called for, but fortunately I had spent the full week working on our ‘secret’ project and incidentally knew what was needed to be said diplomatically, and curfew was averted.

That cruise missile was on my radar for a while but didn’t expect it to hit today.

And then tonight, when Iris finally ‘let loose’, it was the ballistic missile that you could see creeping in and out of the atmosphere, heading towards you while you stand in stupor, unsure of taking cover or running away.

After days of trying to communicate her thoughts to me, where me being me was frequently ‘out of office’, if you knew what I mean so…  a state of emergency was probably what woul’ve been called for tonight, but not of the bad kind, but more of the ‘hmmm this seriously needs some deep thinking and rendez-vous’ kind.

So I’m really happy that we talked of things past and things future and a little bit of things present, and while there’s still a lot more to talk of, I’m determined that this year, 2016, is the year where I’m going to give that little bit more focus into everything little and big things that I do, so I’m very prepared to listen.

I’ve been ‘listening’ for a long while now and I’m glad we had the little private talk, although I’m still a little unsure where we’re heading towards, ‘cos things are still a little blurry as they’re falling into place.

I can’t even remember the last occurrence of intermittent intimacies or late nights of endless giggles, but one thing for sure, I know that if Iris needs me, I will always be there for her.

Even in a curfew.

2016 has just arrived, but I’m hoping that my emotional quotient stays sane a little bit longer.

Happy new year and may peace be unto you.

Day 9 to 15 (Mon to Sun): The last leg

Time blurs away, ebbing profusely with every passing night, seemingly going both out of and into focus at the same time.

It’s strange really, when you reflect on days gone by, trying to string up the things you’ve done with the things you actually need to accomplish — a sort of a mismatch made in earnest, and it makes you want to believe that everything that has transpired is good work done.

Really, time flies, and so did my family, returning home on EK354 (Emirates) on a Sunday afternoon, and it was reassuring and calming to hear again from Sis and family coming back on their last leg after almost a week of no contact, which was surprising indeed, because Sis isn’t the type to scrimp on getting good wifi/network and forego little talks!

All those nights without news I know in my heart that all is well, and that they are preoccupied with something bigger, and that’s good enough for me to sleep on.

So everyone’s back, alhamdulilah, and it’s really good to see everyone back together again, ‘cos I really missed them all — but I’m sure they miss Medina and Mecca more than they’d miss me! *wink-wink*.

Day 7 & 8 (Sat/Sun): The Extended Procrastination.

It was the weekends, what do you expect — once a gamer, always a gamer — and it was only natural~

Sure, I had things that I needed to do, personal admin stuffs and I left it all to the eleventh hour (Monday morning!) to complete.

So I was off for the weekends from work, and I spent it all on Gaming, Soccer and more Gaming!

Mind you, not the casino gaming kind, but the Hearthstone, Magic:The Gathering and Clash of Clan kind!

But first, soccer on Sunday morning, where surprisingly I lasted the whole 90 mins, scoring yet another goal (1 this week, 1 last week), despite sleeping only at 5.30am for 3 good hours of rest.

Why 5.30am? Because me and my Magic buddy playtested the Modern (Magic) format from 7pm till 3am from the night before, while watching Chelsea thrashed Sunderland and Newcastle drawing their games, which is probably the longest period I’ve ever expended playing Magic.

Oh my, the Magic games were intense and furious as my Zombie deck and my buddy’s ‘fair’ decks traded blows, all in the name of practice because we were practising for the upcoming Modern Championships and the events coming up the next day.

Guess what happens when next day came? Yep, we skipped all events and stayed home to do our things instead — me, playing soccer and gaming — so much for the anticipation of those events huh?

I still managed to do my household chores over the weekends. Cleaned the rooms, swept the house, did the laundry, wiped the tables and cleared all thrash. So proud of myself now. *beaming*

But the emptiness that laid bare at every spick and span couldn’t escape me, reminding me that my family are facing sterner challenges on their Umrah trip, than any whines or complaints that I can come up with.

And while I’ve been messaging Sis every now and then, my heart yearns to hear more stories from them.

Indeed it gets lonely once in a while, but I’ve been coping really well by being really busy and I’ve been really, really busy.

Work, Magic, Hearthstone, Stalwart Empire, Stickerdojo, APC, Barneys FC and housechores and I find myself stretching myself to the wee hours every single day, trying to accomplish one of these things.

Next weekend will be a much welcomed weekend as I have decided to ‘clear leave’ starting from Christmas, 25th Dec and will be back at the office only on 2nd Jan.

Now that’s 8 days of rest unlike any that I’ve experienced before, and the only think I fear coming out of it is an extended procrastination of my things to do.

Yikes.

Day 6 (Fri): The Intern

Oh man, these ‘Day X’ posts with my dealing of family’s Umrah Trip is almost alike Mark Wattney’s vlog while stranded on Martian soil, and actually harvesting potatoes grown from personal poop. **couldn’t resist pointing out the solitude life that both Me and Mark have to overcome!

‘The Martian’, very very good movie by the way..

But.. The Intern?

Well.. yeah, I had a juicy, smoking, hot, private affair with ‘The Intern’… a Nancy Meyers movie (Director of It’s Complicated, Something’s Gotta Give, Sister Act), so you know it’s going to be all warm and mushy, gleaming and almost perfect.

Yep, I watched the movie ‘The Intern’. Bah.

Almost perfect, because while the movie was a real a joy to watch, it got a little bit tedious towards the end as you sort of get impatient in wanting to skip towards its climax — a 2min scene out of a 2 hour+ movie indeed!

The movie, starring Robert De Niro, a retired widower who feels he can accomplish more, and Anne Hathaway, a business owner who zips through her workplace on a bike so she can save time, is about a career woman’s meteoric rise in e-commerce and the baggages that comes with it.

Fresh from watching De Niro in ‘Heist’, I thought he downplayed his character here much too many, but in the end it proved to be quite effective as he became the calming force to the tornado that is Hathaway.

I think the movie was quite serene, romantic, modern yet charmingly chivalric at times, and if I could sum it up in one word, enjoyable.

Hmm, much like how my week has been too. ; ) *winks*

Day 5 (Thu): The unknown

It’s been almost a whole day that I’ve not heard from my Family and while I’m not worried, it makes me slightly restless that I’m unable to keep up with the progress of their journey.

Where are they now? What are they eating? Who is guiding them along? When will they reach Medina? Why aren’t they responding?

Valid questions and all unanswered, but I’m pretty sure God will take care of them and that they’re travelling safely — insyallah.

The only good news: 5 days have already passed by, which means that there is slightly a week++ left before everyone returns.

Can’t wait to hear more of their stories!

Day 4 (Wed): The next leg.

A journey always begins with the first step, as the cliche goes, and the only thing harder than the first step.. is that second step.

On a day that Stalwart Empire embarks on its newfound second leg of its freshly minted startup journey — after the considerably ‘experiential and mildly successful’ NTUC Future Starter campaign — my family is also moving forward towards their second leg of this year’s Umrah trip.

Fresh from the near freezing climate of Masjid Al-Aqsa in West Bank, Palestine, they travelled back into Amman, Jordan where they’ll take another plane trip down to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, before heading to Medina.

Sounds awfully exhaustive? Well, you bet it is.

Actually, both the Umrah trip and this Startup experience are unequivocally exhaustive, considerably taxing the mind and incessantly sapping away the energy of all willing participants.

Despite all that, we steadfastly, humbly and devotedly keep soldiering onwards, because, as another cliche saying goes, no pain no gain.

Onto our next steps!

Day 3 (Tue): A magical night.

A magical night? Lol, not quite in that mesmerising sense but more of in the card gaming sense, as I visited BricksPlay for Modern night, and promptly got thrashed left-right-center as my 4C Zombie deck’s wild variance reared its ugly head.

Indeed, sometimes you just got to put up your hand and admit defeat as luck passes you by, looks at you with one glance and ignores your plight.

Bad draws, bad draws, and bad draws were the order of the day as the Zombie deck malfunctioned extravagantly, but fortunately my dinner of Yellow Submarine ‘sub-radar’ beef with cheesy fries was oh-so-awesome.

Anyways, as for my family, they’re doing really good over there, and though it’s cold, they’ve prepared well with chemical warmers, cold jackets, thick clothes and a staunch faith in accomplishing ibadah.

I vividly recall my Arabian nights — see what I did there? — where I spent nearly 2 weeks accomplishing my own ibadah at Medina and Mecca.

They were cold, not freezing, but cool and pleasing, and the most vivid experience that I recall is that peaceful and serene effect the place had on me.

The place was no barren or desert, but it was simple and… functional.

Days pass by like cars and bikes on a busy road, where you don’t really notice them passing by, and while I’ve always wished I could go there again, somehow this time round I’m unable to.

But I’m really happy that my family gets to experience those magical nights on my behalf.

Ain’t nothin like an Umrah’s Arabian nights.